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Avoiding public toilet seats during the pandemic? Here’s your secret weapon

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Gotta go where there’s no toilet? Check out the wide world of FUDs — female urination devices. (Photo: Getty Images)

Having the urge to pee while in a public place is a challenge for women any day of the year. But now — between the coronavirus making public bathrooms risky (or at least perceived to be) and the likelihood you’ll be at a packed protest without a Porta Potty in sight — you might feel more flummoxed than ever about where to quickly and surreptitiously relieve yourself.

Enter a strangely empowering, life-changing product: the female urination device (FUD), which lets women pee while standing up.

Ranging in shape from small funnels to thin troughs, these little plastic items, when held tightly against the body over the urethra, allow women to pee without sitting, squatting, or dropping trou. The portable and miraculous FUDs come with cutesy names and little carrying cases and will set you back only $10 to $30, yet they hold the power to transform the way we wee.

Road-testing Female Urinary Devices

You might be wondering if FUDs actually work, and what kind of mechanics are involved in this miracle solution. As a lifelong member of the small bladder club, I decided to give a handful of them a try in a variety of settings — at the beach, on a hike, on the side of a busy road, and in my very own toilet. Though it definitely took some getting used to (and some at-home practice) for my muscles to adjust to relieving myself while standing, all of the products functioned just fine.

Still, for your shopping ease, here are some more details: a breakdown of seven reusable (and one single-use) options on the market right now, and the pros and cons of each. My favorite wound up being Tinkle Belle — but hey, it’s personal. They’re all pretty great. (And here’s a tip: Since none come with wipes, it’s a good idea to carry some along, so you can clean the thing before sticking it back into its carrying case!)

Freshette (Photo: Amazon)
Freshette (Photo: Amazon)

From the company: “A feminine urinary director for camping, traveling and medical needs… Use when restrooms are unavailable or unsanitary.”

What it’s like: Narrow, hard plastic funnel with a removable extender tube that comes in a sturdy, reusable plastic bag.

Pros: Very lightweight, positions easily.

Cons: The extender tube is difficult to push in and out of place.

GoGirl
GoGirl

From the company: “Don’t take life sitting down… Life’s greatest adventure shouldn’t be finding a bathroom!”

What it’s like: Super-soft and narrow silicone funnel funnel that’s so flexible, you can squish the whole thing into a ball in your fist.

Pros: Very lightweight, packable and positions easily.

Cons: The silicone is so flexible that you don’t want to hold it up against yourself too tightly, for fear of squishing it and causing a spill.

PStyle (Photo: Amazon)
PStyle (Photo: Amazon)

From the company: “The pStyle is a urinary device (FUD) that allows women, non-binary folks, and trans men to pee standing up without undressing. Best for outdoor recreation such as hiking and rock climbing, outdoor occupations such as military or farming, festivals, events, travel, and more!”

What it’s like: Extremely light hard plastic trough that’s open on top and comes with an organic cotton carrying case.

Pros: It’s got a simple design, without extensions or pieces that can bend, and is light as air, so won’t add extra weight to a backpack. Plus the open top allows you to see it working, and the hard plastic makes it easy to maneuver and position.

Cons: The plastic feels a little too hard pressed up against you.

Shewee (Photo: Amazon)
Shewee (Photo: Amazon)

From the company: “Female Urination Device since 1999, accept no imitations! Stand up and take control, and avoid the filthy festival portable loos, and grim public toilets! Ideal for traffic jams, festivals, women in the military and MUCH more!”

What it’s like: A narrow, hard plastic funnel with a removable extender that comes with its own hard-shell carrying case and is available in a range of fun colors, from aqua to lilac.

Pros: It’s very lightweight and easy to position, and the carrying case, since it’s not fabric, won’t get wet when you replace the Shewee after use.

Cons: Pretty much impossible to use without the extender pipe, so there’s that extra step required.

Su Amiga (Photo: Amazon)
Su Amiga (Photo: Amazon)

From the company: “Su Amiga is the only female urination device that allows women to pee standing up without pulling down their pants at all. No more cringing and embarrassment. Pee in style like a man, without revealing your assets.”

What it’s like: Soft, wide, flexible silicone funnel with a bottom half that retracts in order to fit easily in its cinch-top bag.

Pros: Nice soft feel, plus flexibility makes for easy packing. Very easy to properly position.

Cons: The retracting part can make for more complex on-the-go cleaning.

Tinkle Belle (Photo: Amazon)
Tinkle Belle (Photo: Amazon)

From the company: “It doesn’t overflow or collapse like silicone funnels. Just insert it into a fly or move clothing down in front, point the spout down, and you are good to GO!”

What it’s like: A narrow silicone-lined plastic trough with an open top; the lower half is flexible silicone which bends so the item can fit into its cute, zip-top carrying bag.

Pros: Foolproof use, and the silicone lining adds comfort to the hard plastic body; it also offers a no-wiping-required “squeegee” lip, which actually works.

Cons: The flexible tip must be bent to fit in the pouch, but then gets sort of stuck that way and is difficult to straighten out to its original position afterward, rendering the carrying bag kind of useless.

The reviews quoted above reflect the most recent versions at the time of publication.

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